I’m trying to catch up on all of my reviews and I will do it, I swear! And yes, this review is of another Sandra Cisneros book. I finished reading “Woman Hollering Creek” before I went to her signing way back in April. I still think about this book every now and then because in these stories is a sense of hope.
Almost all of the stories in this collection offer a view into the lives of Mexican/Mexican-American women under the patriarchal side of the culture. The patriarchal influences are hard to ignore, especially when it comes to motherhood and a woman’s autonomy. The stories in this collection perfectly capture that struggle, the tug and pull of being a dutiful woman and an autonomous person.
For example, in the title story, “Woman Hollering Creek,” we meet Cleófilas, a mother and wife, whose husband drives her almost to extinction. He is unfaithful, abusive, and downright horrible to her. In the end, with the help of two other women in similar situations, Cleófilas escapes back to Mexico. This story echoes the famous story of La Llorona, the woman that drowned her children and herself in a river. However, in Cisneros’s story, the woman gets to live. By having the character survive, the sense of hope I mentioned earlier is present, almost as if to say that there can be a happy ending.
And that’s the point of a lot of these stories—women have agency. Woman can choose how they live their lives. It may not be the easiest route, but at least they’ve done something about it. These women do not give into the expectations of the culture, and if they do, I think we are supposed to see that as an alternative of what can happen you fall into every demand.
For me, these stories offer hope because they remind me of a lot of women I know. Girls from high school that ended up along with children and shamed for it, older women that raise children as best they can given their economic status. Cisneros knows these women too and for her to write stories in which women act for themselves is very important. I only wish more women would read this collection.
I’m giving this one 4 out of 5 stars!